Posted by on Wednesday, December 03, 2008
It's taken me a while to sort this out, but better late than never I suppose. It's just some video from two sessions earlier this year: one at Halifax and one at the Chill FactorE. Right at the start is the slam that I mentioned from Halifax...
It's been a little bit frustrating to be honest. On my old laptop I had a version of some decent video editting software - which did a good job. I've been unsuccessful installing it on my new laptop; so I'm stuck using Windows Movie Maker.
Movie Maker isn't that bad, and it is free after all. But having the basics only is not what I'm used to, and that's frustrating. What's more, the video output from Movie Maker, when presented by YouTube looks bad. If I choose 4:3 ratio in Movie Maker I get black bars at the top and bottom of the video - because my camera is widescreen. So when I upload it to YouTube, the result is too small, which you'll see below.
If I choose 16:9 in Movie Maker, which is what I should select, it looks fine until it ends up on YouTube, where it is squashed, and basically looks pap.
These aspect problems may be caused by the fact that my camera isn't true-widescreen, which is confusing Movie Maker, maybe not. Has YouTube changed their default to widescreen? Either way, my old software used to handle it fine...
If you're a pc user, what do you use to edit your video? (Actually if you are a Mac user, what do you use?)
Posted by on Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday was an excellent day: the session at Halifax was great. But it didn't start out that way. To be honest, in the beginning it was somewhat of a test!
You see, the main lift was off; not working. This meant using the smaller lift which is way more inconvenient. You gotta unstrap a lot more and it's simply not as good. Also, with the sun and the wind, the slope was really dry, so really slow. Add to that the look of the place, which is a little shabby, and we were thinking why have we driven two hours for this?
But that changed. The run-in to the main kicker always seems to be better than that of the smaller kicker, so once we started hitting that, things improved. Martin produced his new camera too; it was met by oohs and ahhs and juiced things up a little.
It wasn't a particularly long session but it was good. I haven't ridden for a while and I wanted to spend some more time working on backside 1s. I still don't think I'm hitting the jump with enough speed, but it's coming. Towards the end I was definitely more comfortable with more speed, which was a nice improvement.
Of course it's one of those things where hitting it with more speed actually makes things easier: you've got more time in the air to do stuff and you land farther down the landing where it's steeper. Try just telling yourself that though! It might work for other people but not with me... I think I need to build up to it.
I also wanna start getting more comfortable with backside 3s (and maybe even 5s) - but on Saturday I was happy enough progressing with the 180s. Just keep hitting it over and over, trying to make it feel natural. I experimented with a couple of different grabs and also attempted to bone the front leg out. Some of it was successful, some of it wasn't. But I was learning for sure.
We capped things off sitting at the bottom of slope, just chilling out. Two good friends and the mossy snowflex hill to ourselves - it turned out pretty well!
I was well impressed with Martin's new camera - the pictures are awesome. He's uploaded them to Picasa but I don't think I can embed his album, so I've duplicated it in my area. Maybe I'm missing something? Anyway, I've embedded it below, but here's a link to the original set too. I've also included a few choice shots...
Posted by on Monday, June 18, 2007
We got a crew of seven together at the weekend to go and ride at Halifax. With the trip down to Halifax being quite far the session usually ends up being an all-day-thing, so it's a lot better when there's a group.
The night before that, I re-laced my 32s with the spare set of laces that you get with the boots. Although the boots are looking a little tired, it's only really the laces that have worn (one was ready to snap), the other wear is mainly superficial. With the new laces on, they felt new again...
Onto the riding. Well, I'd been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts because it rained all of last week so I was hoping there'd still be some rain left for Saturday. The forecast backed this up, but by time we got there the slope was already starting to dry out.
Bring out the washing-up liquid.
It did turn a little overcast in the middle, and we actually got a small amount of rain which made it better to ride on for a short period. Overall it was still a fairly dry session, but I reckon the slope was marginally faster than the previous times I've ridden there. I wish the sprinkler setup worked properly...
There were two things that I wanted to try this time around: backside 3s and a mini barrel roll backflip. Both were kind of successful.
More pleasing than both the bs 3 and the barrel roll though, I learned something important about the way that I have been, or not been as the point goes, spinning.
I was watching Mike doing some backside rotations and I realised that as he left the kicker his head was turned way more than mine. It made me think that I haven't been using my head half as much as I should have been doing.
I tried a few things out and all of a sudden I could spin a backside 3: but it was fairly smooth, not like before. Excellent. Turning my head more confidently also helped with frontside rotations, which in the past, have always been a little under-cooked. I need to practice some more to (a) get the timing of the head turn with takeoff from the kicker dialed, and (b) stop putting too much weight on my heals when spinning a fs 3 on the snowflex, which is still bugging me; but in general, this felt like a big step forward.
Grant took some video on his camera which includes a couple of shots of the first few backside 3s that I attempted on the kicker. Actually, the first attemp with me slamming big style wasn't on film; shame. I'll post this when I get a hold of it.
In the mean time, here's the short sequence of my first snowflex-mini-barrel-rolls...
Posted by on Monday, June 04, 2007
A few of us rode at Halifax on Saturday and it really did feel like summer. Although it doesn't look like it in the photo, is was touching 28 degrees. So hot to ride in.
It was a good day, but to be honest my riding was tailing off towards the end, which was frustrating. I'm working towards pulling a backside 3 on that kicker - and I probably should have just tried a few. I suppose there's always next time.
Before that though, I was at least getting more familiar with the backside 1s - a simple trick that I should have sorted out well before now. A little change to where I was looking and it stopped me from landing with my weight off-centered towards the tail, which was causing me to sit down on landings.
So I was riding them out more consistently and also improved the style a little - mainly less arm movement. I was looking to bone out an indy on the way round, but it didn't happen. I still need more time to get better with grabbing it - something like a nose grab would be sick - and also to go bigger.
We filmed some stuff and took a few photos, but it turns out there was a problem with the tape. We ended up loosing some of the stuff we took at the last SNO!Storm session and a lot of the new stuff too... I need to check this out 'cos I've only spent 5 minutes looking at it.
Notch up another fun day on the plastic stuff and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Posted by on Tuesday, May 01, 2007
So last Saturday a group of us went to ride at Halifax. For most it was their first experience of snowflex, which made things quite interesting. Overall everyone had a good day, with each person wanting to ride there again...
The weather was fairly warm and windy, which made the slope pretty damn dry. I don't think the sprinkler system was/is working as well as it could do, but there was at least some water coming out, which helped a little. The budget washing up liquid did it's job.
I'm yet to ride the slope when it's wet, so I have nothing to compare the first two trips against. When the slope is dry, it makes the kicker really inconsistent: one hit you're sticking all the way down the run-in and you get no air, then the next hit is much faster.
But it's not the dryness that I'm struggling with the most - it's the transition to riding on snowflex. I'm still putting too much pressure on the heel edge which is making frontside rotations off the heel really hard. On the plus side though, I seem to be fairing much better taking off the toes, which has resulted in my backside rotations getting some much needed practice. In fact, Saturday was the first time I've paid any significant attention to the backside 180...
So, I've put some video clips together from the day. Whilst the camera was on I was trying to get to grips with a frontside shifty stalefish (I think) and a backside 180; both met some success, but they need more work yet. I just can't wait to ride the kicker again! I've used a track by The Postal Service called We Will Become Silhouettes (iTunes UK). If you like it, you can buy it here:
Posted by on Thursday, April 12, 2007
So here's the video that we took last Saturday at Halifax and Castleford. Whilst we were riding that day we met a fellow rider - Sam. It turned out that it was his first taste of snowflex too and he was heading over to Cas' to session the airbag afterwards! What are the chances of that? Nice guy, good shredder...
Posted by on Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Here are some photos of the slope at Halifax. I'll try to add one or two more that show the kicker from the side/above...
Posted by on Tuesday, April 10, 2007
So I got my first taste of snowflex at the weekend and I've got to say I really enjoyed it. I'll definitely be riding at Halifax again.
In fact the whole of Saturday was great; really busy, but great. First off was the drive down to Halifax, then a couple of hours riding on the snowflex, over to Castleford for the airbag night, and finally a late night drive home.
There were two firsts in there for me, so here's a little bit of info about each:
The Halifax Slope I opted to pay for flexi hours on the slope, which seems to be a really good idea. Basically you get a card with some credit on it, and then swipe in and out as you please.
Two hours of credit costs £18; but at the time there was a deal giving you £35 credit for £25, which is what I went for. There's more information on the website.
Airbag Night at Cas' The airbag night at Castleford was an extra freestyle session, in addition to the regular Thursday and Friday freestyle nights. So as well as the airbag itself, there was a collection of rails and boxes too.
Time on the airbag was separated out into four, fourty-five minute slots. Each slot was limited to eight people and you needed to book yourself in. The cost of a booking was £8, but this did not include your time on the slope. That is, you need to cover your time on the airbag with paid-for time on the slope.
The guy marshalling at the top did a pretty good job of checking tickets for the airbag; but invariably there were people sneaking on which added to the waiting a little. Someone called it air-blagging :-)
Video from the day and thoughts on riding snowflex to come...
Posted by on Friday, April 06, 2007
I've had a quick look on YouTube to see if I could find anything showing what the snowflex slope is like at Halifax. Check this out...
Posted by on Friday, April 06, 2007
Now that I've done all of my riding for this season on real mountains, I'm starting to think about riding here, in the UK.
Historically, I've done just about all of my homeland riding at Xscape Castleford, on the indoor slope. I say just about, because I have ridden on a nearby dendex slope a handful of times.
What I've never done is ride snowflex. Snowflex is definitely a target for this off-season. Ideally I'd like to ride it regularly, but in the least, I'd like to try it out a couple of times. The slope at Halifax is well known for having a good kicker, and that's where I'd like to start.
I also plan to continue riding at Castleford, and I'd like to make use of the airbag sessions that they have lined up. I've never hit an airbag before, but I'm guessing that it's lots of fun.
So my aim is to ride somewhere between 2 and 4 times each month, and it would be nice if one of those sessions was a snowflex session. To help me in this goal, I've decided to start some kind of shred counter; a simple record of how many days I go riding between now and next season.
If all goes to plan, I should be off to a good start. I'm gonna be hooking up with Martin tomorrow at Halifax for my first taste of snowflex, and then tomorrow evening we're gonna ride at Castleford and try out the airbag. The intention, maybe not tomorrow but in the future, is to take some photos and video throughout the summer. Let's see how well I keep it up...
Still hungry for more? Check out the archives.